Each week, I share some of the books and other resources I have found inspiring in my investigation into 3D design for 3D printing. The full list lives here on the pinboard “3D Design to 3D Print Inspirations” and each #3DThursday I share about those that I most highly recommend.
The resource I’d like to highlight this week is Ryan Kittelson‘s 3D modeling and character design tutorials for Maya, Blender, and more. I have been following his work for a while because of his excellent tutorials over at Lynda and Youtube for creating characters in Maya and various sculpting tools. I had just recently started exploring his updated Blender tutorials when he launched his very latest series: 3D Printing on Shapeways Using May.
One of the both wonderful and overwhelming realities of online CG tutorials are both the quantity and quality range of what you can find out there. It is possible to find detailed step-by-step solutions to almost every sculpting challenge in every software package (though some feel a bit more like “Let’s Play” videos than tutorials and can wander around in the woods for a bit while the person recording the tutorial figures out how to fix something).
Kittleson’s work is not only tremendously lucid and efficient at tackling, in particular, expressive character design, but he has spent the last few years exploring 3D printing. So when he offers ideas about 3D printing he is speaking from deep experience pushing this stuff as far as he can go as a digital artist.
And as it happens, the area where he has focused most on 3D printing is in fact with launching projects on Shapeways, such as his virally successful sculptures of viral memes: Success Kid and Joseph Ducreux Sculpture. So I have really been enjoying his Lynda tutorial for using Maya for Shapeways, even though Maya is not my primary go-to application at the moment: I still find his suggestions and thinking helpful for my work in Blender and modo. (And I should probably get going with Maya again. 😉 )
And most importantly, this is a set of tools that can really help CG-focused digital artists learn how to bridge their competence in the digital domain over to preparing work for printing with a service or desktop 3D printer.
Ryan Kittleson has loved combining art with technology since he was a young child with a VIC-20 and enjoying visually rich images by artists like Dali and Escher. He taught himself Photoshop as a teen and then 3ds Max in his early 20s. He worked as a game artist in Raleigh, North Carolina for a while before returning to school and completing a bachelor’s of fine arts degree in illustration from East Carolina University, all the while practicing the art of digital graphics with personal and freelance projects. He then moved to Orlando, Florida where he taught character modeling at Full Sail University for 6 years. Ryan currently lives in New York City where he works as a freelance CG artist.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!